A Second Look at Big Fat Alien's Roguelike FPS Rogue Islands

We take a second look at the Early Access roguelike Rogue Islands to see what is new and how it has come along since our last visit.

It has been just a couple of weeks since I initially took a look at Big Fat Alien's roguelike Rogue Islands, which is currently on Steam Early Access. Since then, there have been updates to the game on a near daily basis, with the biggest gap between upgrades being no more than three days.

With so many updates in such a short period of time, I decided to take a look and see what new features have been added to the game along with how seeing just how far it has come since my last visit.

What Noteworthy Changes Have Been Made?

There have been quite a few changes to the general gameplay of the game throughout the many updates that have been applied in the recent weeks.

Magic Pools Now Work Differently

The first big change is how the various magic pools work. Previously, only the mana pool regenerated over time, while the other two pools, Adamant and Flamestone, needed to be mined to be recharged.

Now they operate in a similar fashion to the mana pool, where they regenerate over time and the maximum amount is increased by mining and collecting Adamant and Flamestone found in rock. 

This results in the increase of the magic pools per Adamant and Flamestone collected to be vastly lower than previous iterations, but it results in not needing to constantly mine more to use the spells of the two more powerful staves. It definitely works better from a gameplay standpoint and forces the player to only use the stronger spells when needed because of their slow recharge time.

Levitation has also had a big decrease in mana consumption, allowing for longer gliding time, reduced fall speed, and easier fall-avoidance. 

Tougher Enemies Now Appear Earlier

Another big change is that tougher enemies now spawn earlier in the game. Originally, Bone Knights only began to appear in the second biome, after defeating the first boss of the game, but now, they spawn as early as Level 4.

The same applies for the floating eye monster, which now spawns from the very beginning of the game. This change gives the earlier stages a much-needed difficulty increase, making them a bit more fun and interesting to play. 

While on the topic of monsters, my one criticism in my previous preview has been fixed: enemies are now far more challenging and unpredictable than they were before.

Hazards Can be Seen More Easily

Some hazards have also been adjusted a bit. The thistles have since had their color changed to black with orange flowers, allowing them to be seen easier. Before, they blended into the background where they were easily overlooked and run into.

Balancing, Bug Fixes, and Optimization

Apart from that, there has been quite a bit of balancing, bug fixing, and optimization done to the game to give it a much more polished feel to it. On top of that, the game doesn't need such high system requirement to play at a smooth frame rate. While 

While Rogue Islands has always been a fun experience, the new changes and adjustments really have improved the gameplay in many ways and really have brought the game to the next level.

What New Additions Have Been Implemented?

New Game Modes: Explorer, Nightmare, and Permadeath

Since my last preview, one of the new additions to the game is three difficulty modes. Originally, upon starting a new game, you would choose between different magic users with different gear, making the game harder or easier. Now there is an Explorer Mode (Easy), a Nightmare Mode (Medium) and a Permadeath Mode (Hard).

Explorer Mode is for those who want to play the game for the adventure of it, as well as the Minecraft elements. This mode provides a 40% decrease in enemy damage along with making Nightmares (extra lives) extremely easy to craft. It also lets players carry more supplies at one time.

Nightmare Mode still incorporates the Nightmare mechanic, but they are much more difficult to craft because not only do they require rarer materials, they also require more of those materials when compared to Explorer Mode. Along with that enemies do their normal amounts of damage.

As for Permadeath mode, it does exactly as it says on the tin. There are no Nightmares available and when you die, it is permanent: you'll have to start from the beginning.

On top of that, the game can now be played from start to finish because the story and presentation have now been fully implemented. The player also gets a final score at the end of the playthrough.

From those looking to simply take it easy and explore the world, to those looking for a challenge to the absolute masochistic of roguelike players. Rogue Islands now caters for all of them.

Scrolls of Teleportation

Along with that, there has been the introduction of the Scrolls of Teleportation, which allow the player to teleport to the safety of their ship if a battle turns against them -- or if nightfall is coming and they want to avoid the incorrigible Ghasts.

Achievements

Achievements have now been implemented into Rogue Islands, for those who enjoy hunting for them. There is a good variety of them ranging from easy to obtain to more difficult ones but all are reasonable and very possible to complete.

A New Hazard

A brand new hazard has been introduced in the form of an exploding cave spike that drops from cave ceilings, which explodes upon hitting the floor, dealing splash damage. While easily spotted, they are dangerous to those who recklessly explore caves.

Level 3 Spells

All the spells in the game can now be upgraded to level 3, giving them new properties and boosts. Adding an extra level for spells really does bring in a whole new level of thought when planning and choosing your upgrades, making your decision ever more crucial.

Fog of War

The game now has fog of war, meaning the map is only revealed as you explore. However, this actually helps players because it allows them to see where they've already explored.  

New Quests

Finally, new quests have been added to the game that add variety to the game's levels. these quests make the levels feel unique and keeps them from feeling (sometimes) monotonous and bland.

A Perfect Example of How an Early Access Title Should be Done

I've played my fair share of Early Access titles on Steam over the years and none have come close to the standard that Big Fat Alien has presented. With a near-constant stream of updates and fixes, the game is constantly evolving and continuing to be polished and refined by the developers. It is how early access titles should be done!

As far as the changes and new additions to the game go, they have done nothing but improve the overall experience. While I had a lot of fun with the title during my first visit, I have to say that I have had so much more fun in my second. 

The level of dedication and passion from Rogue Islands' developer is second to none, and it really shows in the product, even at this in-development stage. If you interested in the game but wanted to wait until a later build before buying it, then there is no better time to get started than now.

Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purpose of this preview.

 

Published Jun. 14th 2017

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